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Issue #22 - The Power of Exponential Growth: Rethinking Education for a Future We Can't Imagine

Critical Thinking Mar 1, 2023

Welcome to the latest issue of The Qi of Self-Sovereignty. The newsletter exploring what it means to be free in an increasingly not-so-free world.

Whether you're looking to locate your authentic self or investigate sovereignty, you're in the right place! Each week, with just a few minutes of reading, I aim to expand your awareness through a quote and a piece of content that made me go hmm...

Sounds intriguing? Start learning with weekly issues sent directly to your inbox:

Thought-Provoking Quote:

"Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything." - George Bernard Shaw

If you could only pick one, which would you rather have:

One cent today that doubles every day for a month?


$250,000 cash immediately?

For most, we often fall for option two, only to quickly realize we've made a fatal miscalculation.

One cent, doubling daily for a month, turns into a hefty $5,368,709.12.

This is the power of compounding.

And it is something we, humans, struggle to comprehend. It's easy to understand linear growth, but our brains have trouble keeping up when things start to grow exponentially. That's why the idea of compounding is so hard for many of us to grasp.

I'll throw another one at you.

A standard piece of paper can be folded in half seven times.

Although technically impossible, take a guess at how thick a piece of paper folded 51 times would be.

Well... you may be surprised to know that a piece of paper folded 51x would be 148,230,000km thick. That's the same distance between the earth and the sun.

...If that isn't mind-blowing, I don't know what is.

But... I am not simply mentioning this to flex facts. Instead, I want to share a book I have recently been reading, which has got me thinking about our educational system.

Insightful content which made me go, hmm...

That book is Tim Urban's "What's Our Problem?"

Occasionally, you read a book, and something about it grabs you. For me, that is this book.

After witnessing our growing polarization, tribalism and rising censorship, etc., Tim tries to answer the glaring question:

"What's our problem?"

It's a truly fascinating read!

That said, while diving into the book, I must say the introduction was one of the most captivating I've ever read. To summarize:

Humans, in our present form, have been around for, give or take, 250,000 years. Now imagine condensing our complete human history into a 1000-page book. In such a scenario, each page would span 250 years.

And this is where things get interesting.

If we were to dive into pages 300 (175,000 years ago) and 305 (1,250 years later), other than a few older trees and maybe a little volcanic activity, the world would look pretty much the same.

However, if we were, then, to compare pages 967 (8,250 years ago) and 972 (7,000 years ago), although we are still only five pages apart, suddenly we see the advent of money, exponential growth in agriculture and far more efficient trade in 972 which did not exist on page 967.

And from pages 999 (1522 - 1772) to pages 1,000 (1773 - 2023), the differences are even more profound. As if by magic, we would witness the advent of electricity, the car, smartphones, planes, and basically, everything else we interact with day-to-day... And even then, most of this appears in the last 30% of page 1000.

I should also point out that recorded history only began around 24 pages from the end of the book, and Buddha, Aristotle, Cleopatra, Jesus, Constantine, Muhammad, Ghengis Khan, Joan of Arc, Shakespeare, and Gandhi have only appeared in the last 11 pages or 1%.

What these examples highlight is our exponential growth in technology. When we compare earlier pages in the book, at times, they are almost indistinguishable. However, as we advance through the book, the progress between each page starts to grow at an ever-increasing rate. So much so that by the time we reach the last few pages, that advancement is almost inconceivable.

Imagine being a person on page 999 trying to imagine the contents of page 1000. You know what... Try picturing the contents of page 1001– a page that has yet to be written.

To ram my earlier point home, humans are horrendous at comprehending exponential growth.

Although it is fascinating to think about what may exist in 10 years, 50 years or even 250 years, this got me thinking...

If the average person works for 50 years after leaving school, the children entering school today will retire around 2073.

This begs the question: What will the world look like then?

More specifically, how will technology impact how we interact with the world?

With this in mind, we must think carefully about how we approach education. Many subjects children learn in school today will be redundant in 50 years if they are not so already.

And this is especially pertinent, given that our educational systems are like tanker ships. Our present-day educational system emerged from the Victorian era 200 years ago and, to this day, largely operates in a similar fashion. This has to change, or we'll struggle to keep up.

In light of this, it's my personal belief that we must teach our children skills that outlast technology, skills that allow our children to see reality as it is and think for themselves rather than relying on others... something technology is great at doing. And for that, I propose we place great emphasis on creativity, resiliency and critical thinking, such as first principles thinking.

Firstly, teaching children creativity is crucial in a world where technology is advancing rapidly, as it enables them to develop skills that machines cannot replicate.

Not only do creative individuals better adapt to new situations, solve problems, and develop innovative ideas, but as technology becomes more advanced, many jobs will become automated, and creativity will become even more valuable. By fostering creativity in children, we can help them develop skills that will be valuable in the future job market, enabling them to see the world in new and exciting ways.

Moreover, creativity encourages children to think outside the box, which is essential in a world where our challenges are becoming more complex and interconnected. Ultimately, teaching children creativity will help prepare them for the unknown challenges of the future.

Secondly, we need to teach our children resiliency. The future is uncertain, and all of us will encounter setbacks and failures along the way. Teaching resiliency will enable us to bounce back from these setbacks and continue to move forward. And most importantly, it will allow us to see failure, not as a defeat but as a learning opportunity.

And lastly, without sounding like a broken record and regurgitating previous newsletters, here are a few of my favourites on critical thinking:

Issue #2 - There is genius in all of us!
Welcome to the latest issue of The Qi of Self-Sovereignty. The newsletter exploring what it means to be free in an increasingly not-so-free world. Whether you’re looking to locate your authentic self or investigate sovereignty, you’re in the right place! Each week, with just a few minutes of readin…
Issue #21 - The Only Two Tools You’ll Ever Need for Deciphering Our Increasingly Complex World
Welcome to the latest issue of The Qi of Self-Sovereignty. The newsletter exploring what it means to be free in an increasingly not-so-free world. Whether you’re looking to locate your authentic self or investigate sovereignty, you’re in the right place! Each week, with just a few minutes of readin…

To wrap things up, the power of exponential growth is something that we need to take seriously. The future is coming, whether we're ready for it or not. By focusing on skills that will outlast technology, such as critical thinking, creativity, and resiliency, we can prepare our children for a world we can't even imagine. It's time to rethink our educational system and ensure that it's equipped to handle the challenges of the future.

Thanks for taking the time to read this issue of The Qi of Self-Sovereignty. I hope you found it insightful.

I always welcome feedback and thoughts. So, do not hesitate to respond to the newsletter email, comment on the article or reach out via Twitter.


The future is bright!